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NOVEMBER 9, 2004


Princeton Pike, Lawrence Township

Lawrence Road Fire Co. members helped care for three patients, two of whom were trapped in the mangled wreckage, following a nasty two-vehicle crash on Princeton Pike on the afternoon of Tuesday, November 9, 2004.

The accident occurred shortly before 3:15 p.m. on Princeton Pike, north of Franklin Corner Road, when a northbound 2002 Dodge Caravan minivan being driven by a 52-year-old woman collided with a southbound 1993 Mazda MX3 being operated by a male in his 20s, according to police reports. Traveling as a passenger in the minivan was a 79-year-old woman.

The force of the collision caused both drivers to become trapped.

The head-on accident was reported to township police and Mercer County Central Communications Center almost simultaneously by several people, including Hightstownís Deputy Chief 41 and Lawrenceville Fire Co. Paid Driver Mike Burns, who was returning from the Lawrence Township road garage with Rescue 23.

At 3:16 p.m., Mercer County Central officially dispatched Lawrenceville and Lawrence Road firefighters on Box 23-30. The Lawrence First Aid Squad was toned out a moment earlier by Lawrence Control.

Deputy Chief Wayne Hannon responded at 3:17 p.m. in Car 22-1.

Telesquirt 23, meanwhile, signed on radio at 3:18 p.m., followed one minute later by Rescue 22.

Rescue 22 was commanded by Lt. Michael Byrd, driven by Paid Driver Robert Santello, and crewed by Lt. Michael Ratcliffe, Ff. Ryan Dlabik and Ff. Evan Kutzin.

Chief John Fleming also responded in Car 22, however his response times were not logged.

Telesquirt 23 arrived on scene by 3:20 p.m. Rescue 22ís arrival time was not recorded.

Because both drivers and the passenger in the minivan were all seriously injured, Ambulance 129-1 called in several mutual aid EMS units, including Ewing EMS Ambulance 139-1, Trenton EMS North Rescue ambulance and two Capital Health System paramedic units (Life 791 and Life 793).

Upon arrival, Rescue 22ís crew helped Lawrenceville firefighters stabilize both vehicles. Rescue 22ís crew then went in service with their Holmatro tools to help extricate the two trapped drivers.

Working together, crews from both fire companies removed the driverís door of the minivan and cut off the doors on both sides of the Mazda and the Mazdaís entire roof. Firefighters then used a ram on the driverís side of the car to lift the crumpled metal away from the maleís left ankle, which had suffered multiple compound fractures in the crash.

The man was extremely combative with rescuers and frequently tried to remove the cervical collar that had been placed around his neck. Firefighters finally managed to free the manís ankle and he was moved from the car onto a backboard and then into an waiting ambulance. All patients were fully extricated by 3:47 p.m.

In addition to his ankle injury, the man suffered injuries to his lower body. The 52-year-old woman suffered injuries to her legs, while her elderly female passenger suffered injuries to her legs, arms and ribs, according to police.

All three patients were rushed by ambulance to the trauma unit at Capital Health System at Fuld hospital in Trenton. Police said their injuries were serious but not life-threatening.

Rescue 22 recalled at 3:58 p.m. and was in quarters by 4:05 p.m. Station 23 units remained on location until 4:30 p.m. Princeton Pike in the area of the collision was closed for 90 minutes while police investigated.

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